CPUC Approves Permits for Cruise and Waymo To Charge Fares for Passenger Service in San Francisco
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today approved Resolutions granting additional operating authority for Cruise LLC and Waymo LLC to conduct commercial passenger service using driverless vehicles in San Francisco. The approval includes the ability for both companies to charge fares for rides at any time of day.
The requirements for the Resolutions approved today were established in a CPUC Decision adopted in 2020. This Decision mandates that autonomous vehicle (AV) companies submit an Advice Letter to enter the market as a passenger carrier using driverless vehicles or to make significant alterations to their current driverless passenger service, particularly those affecting passenger safety measures. The CPUC evaluated the Cruise and Waymo Advice Letters to ensure they met the licensing requirements set forth in the Decision, including passenger safety measures.
Prior to today’s approval, both companies operated in San Francisco and other areas with specified limitations:
- Cruise was authorized to offer fared passenger service in limited areas of San Francisco from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. without a safety driver present, fared passenger service throughout San Francisco at any time with a safety driver present, and non-fared passenger service throughout San Francisco at any time without a safety driver present.
- Waymo was authorized to offer fared passenger service throughout San Francisco at any time with a safety driver present and non-fared passenger service throughout San Francisco at any time without a safety driver present. Waymo is also authorized to offer non-fared passenger service in parts of Los Angeles and in and around Mountain View with or without a safety driver present.
Additionally, both Cruise and Waymo possess an Autonomous Vehicle Deployment Program Permit issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This DMV permit is a prerequisite for AV deployment and is distinct from the CPUC’s permit, which is an additional requirement for companies that provide transportation services to the public using AVs. Participants in the CPUC’s AV programs must also maintain the relevant DMV AV permit in good standing.
“While we do not yet have the data to judge AVs against the standard human drivers are setting, I do believe in the potential of this technology to increase safety on the roadway,” said CPUC Commissioner John Reynolds. “Collaboration between key stakeholders in the industry and the first responder community will be vital in resolving issues as they arise in this innovative, emerging technology space.”
Applicants to the Driverless Pilot Program and the Driverless Phase I Deployment Program are required to submit Passenger Safety Plans that outline their plans to protect passenger safety. Permits issued are available on the CPUC’s website.
Read about the CPUC’s regulation of autonomous vehicles here.
About the California Public Utilities Commission
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. Visit www.cpuc.ca.gov for more information.